Chopova Lowena debuts at London Fashion Week – WWD

Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena like to do things in a “slightly foreign way”.

The duo behind their fashion label Chopova Lowena have made quite a name for themselves over the past few years, dressing some of the biggest stars of our time, including Dua Lipa, Olivia Rodrigo and Harry Styles in their colorful and folkloric skirts. inspired. from their common Bulgarian heritage.

And they have never organized a fashion show.

When the brand was shortlisted for the 2020 edition of the LVMH Prize for Young Designers, the duo told WWD that they were more interested in presenting the brand with alternative forms of presentation, rather than the “boring old method” of put on a show.

Regarding this statement, Lowena confessed that at that time they simply “didn’t have the opportunity to do a show”.

Unlike many of the brand’s other London-based designers who launched their careers with the help of talent support schemes such as Fashion East and Newgen, Chopova Lowena was overlooked early on, despite having applied to those programs several times.

“I think those platforms support brands. It’s just not our experience,” said Chopova. “I think it’s good for young people coming into the industry to understand that there are many different ways to do it. We were really hard on ourselves when we didn’t get those platforms, and we just persevered and found our way and it’s working for us.”

The turning point came in 2018, a year after both graduated from Central Saint Martins, they received a 30-piece order from Matchesfashion, which saved them from closing the brand.

Chopova Lowena designers Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena at the LVMH Prize 2020 edition.

Getty Images For LVMH

Now, the brand is selling to more than 60 stockists worldwide, including Ssense, Nordstrom, Dover Street Market, LN-CC and 10 Corso Como, and its production tripled last year, according to Chopova.

While the industry offered little help at first, their family members stepped in and provided much-needed professional advice on business management, bookkeeping and resources.

“We were incredibly lucky because we were in the perfect situation where both of our parents had retired,” Lowena said. “Laura’s mother ran small family businesses and my father was in big businesses throughout his career. So they both had amazing knowledge and could help us with all those things that you just don’t know how to do.”

Chopova added that “It’s really hard to understand when you learn about fashion design for seven years and suddenly jump into numbers and cash flows. The truth is, when you’re young, it’s hard to trust people like that because not everyone always has your best interest at heart. And the family definitely does.”

Ella Emhoff wearing a Chopova Lowena multicolored beaded midi skirt and black belt in Paris.

Getty Images

With a stable financial situation, the brand is set to make its runway debut and present its spring 2023 collection at Porchester Hall near Paddington Station on Friday at 8pm, which is four days earlier than originally planned. . As reported, all shows taking place on the day of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral on Monday had to be rescheduled, according to the British Fashion Council.

“Thank you to your amazing PR for breaking their ass trying to secure a spot for us once they heard about the deal,” Chopova said, adding that she was grateful the venue was kind enough to not to pay extra for the moving dates.

The new collection, titled “A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose,” which is a quote from a poem by Gertrude Stein, will be a celebration of their Bulgarian roots.

“It’s about the Rose Festival, which is from the part of Bulgaria where I’m from and it’s a holiday to celebrate the rose and the beauty of the rose,” explained Lowena, who grew up in Somerset, England. “Every year a rose queen is nominated from the city. So it’s about stickiness and beauty, and the rosy and direct color of the references to that.

“Also, the traditional references to traditional Bulgarian folklore and other Bulgarian things that come from my side, like denim, are inspired by how difficult it was for my parents to own jeans, as it was illegal during the communist era,” added Lowena.

A preview of Chopova Lowena’s spring 2023 collection.

The collection will also have a sporty side, Chopova interjected, which will feed the mood of the collection.

“We miked lacrosse to Bulgarian folk music and metal. So there will be intense music. And there are many references to sportswear and uniforms. We have these knit sweaters with lacrosse trinkets and bags with lacrosse sticks,” said Chopova, who was born in Sofia, Bulgaria and had lived in New Jersey since she was seven.

The new collection will feature a much broader offering beyond the brand’s signature skirts. There will be “fun, attention-grabbing clothes” but also pieces tailored for formal occasions, as the pair discovered from engaging with their online community that Chopova Lowena is speaking to a much wider range of people, transcending age and gender. , than her. had predicted.

The founders first met in 2011 when they were studying BAs in Womenswear Design at Central Saint Martins and quickly became close friends as they were the only two in the class living in South London at the time .

“I lived in Peckham, and she lived in Brockley. And we traveled south together. We used to get on the train at 10 o’clock at night together coming home from King’s Cross,” recalls Lowena.

“Further into our relationship, we realized that we work very well together. At the end of BA, we couldn’t just produce collections that we were happy with because it was just too one-sided. It wasn’t interesting enough on its own. When we come together, we know how to balance things,” said Chopova.

In 2015, the two applied for a joint masters in fashion design at Central Saint Martins.

Chopova still remembered the day they went for a chat with Fabio Piras, director of the MA Fashion course at Central St Martins.

“He grilled us to the point of ‘is this something you’ve really thought about?’ Or is it like ‘we’re best friends and we want to make clothes together.’ He also asked ‘what does the future of the business look like’ and ‘you’re going to get a degree where you do a collection together. Will you be okay with that?’ And we’re like, ‘We’ve thought about this. This is what we want to do.’ And then we left and then we got an acceptance letter and that was it,” she added.

A preview of Chopova Lowena’s spring 2023 collection.

Olya Kuryshchuk, founder and editor-in-chief of 1 Granary, who has known Chopova and Lowena for nearly a decade and has consulted with the brand since its inception, said she is happy to have witnessed the duo’s growth into “excellent business women while they were undeniably visionary designers.”

“They put time and hard work into perfecting their products and developing a design language. They’ve also been working with the same people since Day One and never stopped being hungry for their feedback,” said Kuryshchuk. “When everyone around them couldn’t believe they could do a business with a product and aesthetic so special, they had the confidence and intelligence to move forward, take advice and bravely make tough decisions to build a healthy company. The fact that this is their first show says a lot about who is Chopova Lowena and how they are carving their way.”

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